Another BBLBIA letter published in The Guardian

Jeremy Havardi has another letter published in The Guardian

Report by Jeremy Havardi

Contrary to Karma Nabulsi and her fellow academics (Letters, 1 August), Palestinians have no need to worry about restrictions on their freedom of speech. Adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism does not prohibit open support for Palestinian rights nor criticism of Israeli policy, and rightly so. We live in a pluralistic, tolerant society with a long history of defending liberal freedom. The IHRA definition is useful because it clearly identifies ways in which the language of Israel’s critics can cross the line into overt antisemitism. Thus when Jews are accused of showing more loyalty to Israel than to their own country, this raises the charge of divided loyalties, which has long been used to attack Jewish communities as unpatriotic.

Similarly, it is antisemitic to regard Israel as a “racist endeavour” because it suggests that Jews, alone among all the nations, have no legitimate claim to self-determination. After all, why the double standard? Comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany are likewise a grotesque form of vilification rather than an attempt to criticise Israeli policy. In essence, there is a distinction to be drawn between legitimate criticism of Israel and outright demonisation.
Jeremy Havardi
Director, B’nai B’rith UK’s Bureau of International Affairs

 

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